Dr. Richard is an independent investigator in the Infectious and Immune Diseases Research Axis of the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Laval University, and an associate professor at the department of Microbiology-Infectious Diseases and Immunology of Laval University’s Faculty of Medicine.
His work focuses on malaria, one of the world’s most common infectious diseases, with approximately 300 million cases each year and 500,000 deaths, and thus represents one of the most devastating global public health problems. The lack of an effective vaccine, the emergence of resistance to first-line drugs like chloroquine and antifolates, and recent reports of clinical cases of reduced susceptibility to artemisinine in Cambodia, combined with the small number of suitable new drugs against the malaria parasite, demonstrate the urgent need for the development and implementation of novel intervention strategies in the form of drugs, vector control measures, and an effective vaccine. Indeed, if the trend in malaria prevalence stays on its current upward course, the death rate could double in the next 20 years.
Understanding red blood cell invasion mechanisms by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum
Invasion of a red blood cell by Plasmodium falciparum merozoites is an essential step in the malaria lifecycle and host response to merozoite antigens are an important component of human malarial immunity. Consequently, the molecular players involved in erythrocyte invasion are key targets for both therapeutic and vaccine-based strategies to block parasite development. Several of these invasion proteins are stored in the apical complex of the merozoite, a structure containing secretory organelles called dense granules, micronemes and rhoptries, and are released at different times during invasion. Because of its essential role, interfering with the generation of the apical complex represents a very attractive target for the design of a new kind of antimalarial. Our studies focus on trying to understand how the parasite directs proteins to the different structures of the apical complex. Understanding this complex process will likely provide a wealth of new targets for the development of strategies to block apical complex generation and to prevent malaria pathogenesis.
Using metabolomics paired with machine learning to identify modes of action of drugs
To sustain the critical research and development process, earlier compound attrition and shorter time-to market are key requirements to help bring cost savings and recover revenue, which are crucial steps in drug development. Integrating the determination of the modes of action of lead compounds in the drug development pipeline is recognized as a critical part in reaching these goals. In collaboration with Dr. Jacques Corbeil from the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Laval University, and Dr François Laviolette from Laval University’s Computer Sciences Department, we use an innovative approach for drug profiling, based on high-throughput mass spectrometry and new machine learning algorithms to acquire and analyze metabolomic spectra to a depth, cost and scale that has never before been achieved.
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Total synthesis and antimalarial activity of mortiamides A-D.Journal Article
Chem Commun (Camb), 55 (52), pp. 7434-7437, 2019, ISSN: 1359-7345.
Mass spectra alignment using virtual lock-masses.Journal Article
Sci Rep, 9 (1), pp. 8469, 2019, ISSN: 2045-2322.
A pan-apicomplexan phosphoinositide-binding protein acts in malarial microneme exocytosis.Journal Article
EMBO Rep, 20 (6), 2019, ISSN: 1469-221X.
A map of the subcellular distribution of phosphoinositides in the erythrocytic cycle of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.Journal Article
Int J Parasitol, 48 (1), pp. 13-25, 2018, ISSN: 0020-7519.
Evidence that the Plasmodium falciparum Protein Sortilin Potentially Acts as an Escorter for the Trafficking of the Rhoptry-Associated Membrane Antigen to the Rhoptries.Journal Article
mSphere, 3 (1), 2018, ISSN: 2379-5042.
Inactivation of Plasmepsins 2 and 3 Sensitizes Plasmodium falciparum to the Antimalarial Drug Piperaquine.Journal Article
Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 62 (4), 2018, ISSN: 0066-4804.
Identification of a Golgi apparatus protein complex important for the asexual erythrocytic cycle of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.Journal Article
Cell Microbiol, 20 (8), pp. e12843, 2018, ISSN: 1462-5814.
The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum Sortilin is essential for merozoite formation and apical complex biogenesis.Journal Article
Cell Microbiol, 20 (8), pp. e12844, 2018, ISSN: 1462-5814.
Characterization of a putative Plasmodium falciparum SAC1 phosphoinositide-phosphatase homologue potentially required for survival during the asexual erythrocytic stages.Journal Article
Sci Rep, 7 (1), pp. 12710, 2017, ISSN: 2045-2322.
Malaria Parasite Invasion: Achieving Superb Resolution.Journal Article
Cell Host Microbe, 21 (3), pp. 294-296, 2017, ISSN: 1931-3128.
- 3.2 Comprehensive environmental monitoring and valorisation: From molecules to microorganisms, Subvention, Secrétariat des programmes interorganismes à l’intention des établissements, Fonds d'excellence en recherche Apogée Canada, from 2016-04-01 to 2020-03-31
- Centre de recherche en infectiologie, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1996-06-01 to 2020-04-30
- Centres hospitaliers universitaires de Québec - Université Laval, Subvention, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - Université Laval, Centres de recherche affiliés, from 2017-01-01 to 2099-12-31
- Dissecting mechanisms of cell division by the malaria parasite, Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
- Élucidation des mécanismes contrôlant le trafic des protéines vers le complexe apical du parasite de la malaria Plasmodium falciparum, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Chercheur-boursier Juniors 1 et 2, Seniors, from 2018-07-01 to 2020-06-30
- Exploring the role of phosphoinositides in the trafficking of proteins to the apical complex in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2019-04-01 to 2024-03-31
Recently finished projects
- Exploring the role of phosphoinositides in the trafficking of proteins to the apical complex in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum., Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention de fonctionnement, from 2013-10-01 to 2018-09-30
- Proteostatic Mechanisms of Resistance in Malaria, Subvention, National Institute of Health (USA), Subvention de recherche, from 2018-07-15 to 2019-01-31